ACT scores show more Louisiana students ready for college

MGN Online / ACT.org
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 10:17am

The Department of Education and ACT today announced that the number of Louisiana high school students demonstrating readiness in English, math, and science for college level work increased significantly between 2012 and 2013, showing gains in each subject area. The announcement comes in the first year of Louisiana’s requirement that all juniors and seniors take the ACT test. The state tested 45,305 students in the class of 2013, an increase of 8,569 from 2012; this number includes both public and private school students. Louisiana’s average composite ACT score for 2013 is 19.5 in the state’s first year of testing 100 percent of eligible students.

Approximately 3,600 more Louisiana public school seniors than in 2012 earned a score of 18 or above, providing a record number of students with the opportunity to attend college. Scores also increased at every level of the test above 18 (the test is scored on a scale of 36), allowing more students access to TOPS college scholarships. See a detailed summary of these results here.

On the ACT’s college readiness benchmark scores in four subject areas, the number of Louisiana students demonstrating proficiency increased in every subject.

  * 2013 benchmark

“Raising expectations for all students is not the easy thing to do,” said Superintendent John White. “But when we do it, we are always amazed by how kids respond, especially those too often counted out.”

Louisiana is the 10th state to use the ACT as a measure for college and career readiness for all students. Several states, like Mississippi (18.9), test nearly 100 percent of their students.

Research shows that when states move to test all students, average composite scores temportarily decline. Louisiana experienced the single smallest decline of any state in its first year of testing all eligible students.

Research from Columbia University shows that many students who had not been directed toward taking the ACT, especially those from low-income backgrounds, score surprisingly well when given the opportunity to do so. When Colorado and Illinois adopted the practice of testing all high school graduates, they increased the number of students tested by roughly 40 percent. Of the newly tested students, roughly 40 percent scored a college-going score. Louisiana’s results are consistent with these findings.

Additionally, Colorado and Illinois’s average composite scores have risen in the time since those transitions.

The ACT series of tests, given in 8th, 9th and 11th grades to provide parents and students information on college and career readiness, is a central plan of Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan to ensure all children are on track to college or a career. 

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